Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Am I nuts?

Each year about one in four adults suffers from an emotional illness  the impact of emotional problems is as debilitating as physical problems, yet very often emotional problems go untreated. How do you know if you or a loved one are suffering from an emotional problem?

The American Psychiatric Association has compiled a general list of warning signs for mental illness:

Warning Signs of Mental Illness in Adults
  • Personality change
  • Inability to cope with problems
  • Strange or grandiose ideas
  • Excessive anxiety
  • Prolonged depression
  • Marked changes in eating or sleeping
  • Extreme highs and lows
  • Abuse of alcohol or drugs.
  • Excessive anger or violence
  • Thoughts of suicide or homicide
    •  (source: American Psychiatric Association)
Things can be a bit trickier in kids as they are still maturing however here's a list of warning signs that really deserve immediate attention:

Warning Signs of Mental Illness in Children

  • Talk about suicide
  • Self mutilation
  • Mutilation of animals
  • Drastic change in eating habits
  • Adoption of ritualistic behaviors
  • Violence towards others
  • Use of alcohol or drugs

    • (source: American Psychiatric Association)

These signs- don't necessarily mean that there is a mental illness- but - think of this like any other illness, when the symptoms are there, severe enough, and last- we go to a physician. The same goes here- if you or someone you know or a child you know is exhibiting these symptoms than you absolutely need to get them checked out. My recommendation is to talk to your physician or pediatrician and talk about the symptoms like any other problem.  Dealing with an emotional problem is not a sign of insanity or weakness-not dealing with it is...


Rose said...

I recently experienced a dramatic weekend with a friend who threatened suicide. She was not able to reason and her emotions came with extreme highs and lows. She is under a lot of pressure from her job as well. Her family is suffering from her emotional abandonment. As an outside friend, I have found a therapist I trust but how do I convince her to go? What steps do I take to since she rather avoid this weekend ever happened? Confused?

dr. josh klapow said...

Thank you for the post Rose-- this is one of those situations where the impact of an emotional problem is really felt. You were a good friend, you are a good friend. You must realize though that you can't "make" her go unless you feel she is a direct threat to herself or someone else. That being said- the best thing you can do is to speak your mind to her in an open and honest manner. You might even offer to go with her to the therapist if she is feeling scared. What you have to let her know is that her actions were life threatening, and as her friend you don't want that to happen again. You must also let her know that just like an infection or wound that is not healing, her emotional injury requires immediate professional attention. In the end, let her know that while you will always be her friend- you won't sit by and let her take her life. If she cares about herself and cares about you she will get help. That's all you can do Rose-- it is her life- jk

cupidpaknaz said...

Hi everyone i am new to this. Just thought that i would say hello to everyone! dont really know
what else to say. so bye